Category Archives: Uncategorized

Black Lives

Just heard earlier today that, after one mistrial and three acquittals, the remaining three officers’ charges were dropped in the case of the murder of Freddie Gray. I feel sad and angry at the state of our justice system, although at least it can be said that the charges were brought here in Baltimore, as opposed to so many other places where police are so often not even charged or go to trial for their killings of black people.

I guess I don’t really know which of the six officers is most responsible for his death, and that was part of the problem for the trials too. There was not enough evidence to convict any one of them, and the lawyers for each were able to cast blame upon the others (and on the rest of police leadership/culture). The driver wasn’t responsible for buckling in Freddie Gray; he deferred to the Lieutenant who was of higher rank. The Lieutenant wasn’t responsible; it was too crowded with hostile bystanders at the scene of the arrest, and after the van started moving he became the driver’s responsibility. And of course, none of them are responsible since somehow, although it has been law in Maryland since 1986 for non-police to use seat belts while driving or riding in a car, somehow it has only been police policy in Baltimore to seat-belt prisoners since 2-3 days before Gray’s arrest, and none of the officers got/read the email in those few days.

Again, what is outrageous is less the outcome of any single trial (many observers agree that evidence presented was lacking, and the no-snitching culture of the police equals or exceeds that of the streets), than the fact that no one was held accountable for such a clearly wrongful death. Gray should not have been arrested in the first place (why the hell is it probable cause to arrest someone for running?); even after being arrested, he should have been seat-belted in the van (common sense, and law in most states); and it is likely that he was taken for a ‘rough ride’ to punish him for running and ‘making’ the police officers chase after him (there was video of the van swerving many times over the yellow line).

There are still reminders, with every new incident, and with every failure to charge or indict or convict, that black lives do not matter to our society as much as white lives. Not to mention “blue lives”, which are clearly valued (e.g. Dallas, outpouring of support, shooter killed by robot immediately even without trial). As many have said, no one is arguing that only black lives matter, but that black lives should and do matter as much as any others. And this, to me, is self-evidently true and worth fighting for, just like being a feminist means that we should all support equal rights for women. And yet, both of these still (somehow) ignite controversy.

I leave you with two videos: a Samantha Bee clip with her team interviewing folks at the Republican National Convention about Black Lives Matter, for a humorous take on people hating on BLM without understanding anything about it, and an interesting spin at the end; and a video of musician Raury singing his song “Fly”.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Rising Up in Baltimore

It’s been over four months since the Baltimore Uprising began. The most memorable day of that was, of course, the riots, fires, and property destruction of April 27th. Although the media did not show nearly as much of the weeks of peaceful protest both before and after that day.

It’s been four months of continued evidence that black lives do not matter in American society today, with Sandra Bland and Sam DuBose just the most recent examples.

It’s been four months of elevated violence in the streets, with May and July each breaking records in the number of homicides in a month. The records cited for homicides in a month go back four decades (we had 45 this July, the most in any month since August 1972), or if you look at murders per capita, since Baltimore has had a population decline of around 300,000 since then, we are breaking all records in the city’s recorded history. On August 19th, we surpassed the number of homicides for all of last year (211), and also edged ahead of New York City (a city over twelve times our size) for the current year. Whether this is due to a police slowdown, an increase in pharmaceutical drugs on the street due to the looting of 27 April (warning: autoplay video at link target), or something else, Baltimore is a city that is in crisis.

For that matter, America is a nation in crisis.

I have always thought of my job, teaching math and engineering, as a social justice issue. For one, where I choose to teach (along with programs I’ve helped put in place) helps to correct the underrepresentation of blacks, Latinos, and women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. For another, my job helps increase access for those in poverty to high-paying STEM careers, helping fight against the low level of income mobility in our society (by the way, growing up a poor child in Baltimore City leads to $4510 lower annual income than growing up in an average American county).

But until this April, I never did much to discuss social justice issues in class.

I’ve been meaning to post a journal entry here on the murder of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore Uprising, and my next day of teaching, so here’s my summary of the events (a mix of facts, disputed facts, opinions, and my own personal interaction with the events):

  • A bit of historical background:
  • Freddie Gray was arrested on April 12th for running away from police in a neighborhood with a high volume of illegal drug traffic. Apparently it may be legal for police to have done this, not sure if it’s constitutional.
  • Still on the 12th Gray was given a “rough ride” back to the jail, during which his spine was severed.
  • Gray was taken to the hospital, where he died a week later later on April 19th.
  • From the 19th to the 24th there were several completely peaceful protests.
  • On Saturday April 25th there was some minor violence, and a few windows broken, after protesters were provoked by drunk baseball fans.
  • On Monday April 27th was Freddie Gray’s funeral. His family and city leadership asked for peace on that day, but that was not to be.
  • Monday morning also had the police spreading rumors of a gang truce to take out police and a schoolkid ‘purge’ of society. Both of which seem/ed not serious and overblown, at least to me.
  • Based on these rumors, and before any violence had occurred, police in riot gear took over Mondawmin Mall and closed down all buses and metro traffic through there. This left school kids who use Mondawmin for their daily transportation with nowhere to go. According to the Baltimore Sun, “When 3 p.m. came, 75 to 100 students heading to Mondawmin Mall were greeted by dozens of police officers in riot gear. The mall is a transportation hub for students from several nearby schools.”
  • Tensions between police, students, protesters, and others escalated into riots, beginning at Mondawmin. Rioters threw rocks at police, police threw rocks back. People broke windows, and set cars on fire. Looters went into stores.
  • The city shut down almost entirely that Tuesday – school was cancelled, many businesses were closed. To give credit to a fine institution, one of the few places that stayed open was the Enoch Pratt Free Library, which declared that all branches would be open on Tuesday. A curfew was declared for everyone.
  • That Tuesday, April 28th, people were out in mass. Many were out to clean up the destruction from the night before. Others came out to protest the lack of justice in the Freddie Gray case. Still others helped organize lunch donations for the tens of thousands of schoolchildren who rely on a free lunch at school but would not be getting that since schools were shut down.
  • Protesters gathered at the intersection of North and Penn, where CVS burned and a few blocks from where Gray was arrested. I attended this protest, to lend my support for the cause.
  • Police and National Guard were sent from dozens of nearby counties and states, along with tanks, helicopters, and other military apparati.
  • Media coverage from all the national networks was pretty bad. At curfew time, 10pm, for each of the next several days, there were more media out at North and Penn than protesters. A short article/photos by Natalie Keyssar, What We’re Getting Wrong About Baltimore.
  • The next day, Wednesday, April 29th, we were back to school. Our principal called a school-wide assembly in the auditorium in the morning. One of the things he did is to have students write their feelings on index cards, and he then read aloud a bunch of student responses.  I felt I had to address the issues of race, social justice, police violence, and the riots in my class, even though these were not usually discussions I hold in math and engineering classes. I had students reflect on two questions in writing, then invited them to share with the class.
    1. What are your thoughts on the killing of Freddie Gray, the protests of the last two weeks, the “uprising” or “riots” of Monday, the cleanup and continued protests Tuesday, and the reaction of the Mayor, Police Commissioner, and Governor?
    2.  As an engineer, how could you design something that would help build a better Baltimore?
  • A few of the students’ responses to the second question were:
    • “I would build some robots that would clean up and protect the city from the bad.”
    • “I would design a fireproof camera that will be able to record anyone who started the fire. It will be able to survive in any environment.”
    • “Make materials that are not so easily to break.”
    • “I could design cameras and the back of police vans.”
    • “I would try create more job’s.”
    • “A drone that has interchangable peices based on the goal. (trash picker, pepper spray, annoying noise, camera)”
    • “I would design a robot that can repair stuff in second’s so that we could have that instead of robot’s that shoot.”
  • In my Precalculus class, we also looked at some statistics on police shootings by race, and compared presenting these by raw numbers versus by percentages.
  • In addition to the lesson itself, I also printed out and made available several other readings:
  • A few other teachers wrote up articles, or posted student work from the days after the riots. A teacher I know at Frederick Douglass High School posted “Baltimore’s Douglass High School Students Respond To Negative Media Attention”. A former Baltimore teacher wrote this article, “Baltimore Youth Are Not Thugs. They Are My Former Students — And They Are Loved”.
  • For the rest of the week, school was back on but all field trips were cancelled. We had curfew every night (some people in whiter and more affluent neighborhoods decided to test if police were really enforcing curfew throughout the city or only in poor black neighborhoods, guess what the result was).
  • There was no additional violence beyond that Monday night. There were, however, many days of major protests that week.
  • Tension was high though, with police insinuating that Gray severed his own spine by throwing himself around the back of the van. Another false rumor was circulated that he already had a spinal injury that perhaps was just aggravated by the arrest / van ride.
  • On Friday of that week, May 1st, the state’s attorney for Baltimore City (comparable to a district attorney other places) announced that charges were being filed against six police officers in Freddie Gray’s homicide. The video of her reading out the charges is powerful.
  • That weekend the curfew was lifted. Luckily for us, the field trip ban was also lifted, since we had been planning for a whole year for our second annual Engineering Design and Development Symposium that next Monday May 4th, to have seniors present their capstone projects and new inventions!
  • On May 21st, a grand jury brought indictments against the six officers.
  • In July, the mayor fired the police commissioner and brought a new person in.
  • In August, we passed the total number of homicides from last year. We also passed New York City, a much larger city, in numbers of homicides. We have about ten times the number as Boston, a city of similar size. In homicide rate (per capita), we’re at number two in the country, behind only St. Louis which has also had a big spike this year.
  • Following the charges being filed on May 4th, some protests have continued but perhaps with less urgency with respect to Gray’s death since it seemed that justice was on the right track (unlike for Michael Brown or Eric Garner, for example). However there has continued community discussion–for example, the six police officers were out on bail the same day they were charged, without a single day in jail, while some protesters were kept for 48 hours in jail without any charge or bail, other protesters accused of riot offenses were in jail for months because they could not afford to pay the bail that was set. Some have pushed for the re-opening of other cases of deaths in police custody in Baltimore like the case of Tyrone West, which people in Baltimore have been protesting for two years. There have also been many rallies and marches to stop the violence in the community, including most recently a walk from Baltimore to Washington DC by members of the group 300 Men March.
  • Rebuilding is still occurring in Baltimore. A future senior center, which was burned the night of April 27th, has construction going on and signs saying ‘BMore Strong’. The CVS at North and Penn that was burned that night (and shown in every news report), however, is still boarded up with no signs of recovery. I guess it may just join the other vacant stores and houses in the city. By the way, during the news coverage, some people from outside Baltimore saw rows of boarded up houses and assumed these were the results of the riots, but no, these 16,000 vacant homes are just daily life in Baltimore.
  • I’ll close with one last link, an article by another teacher in Baltimore written at the end of July: “In Baltimore, hope can be a dangerous thing”
  • With that, it’s on to a new school year in Baltimore City. I’m hoping for and expecting us to accomplish great things this year.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Baltimore

Beat-up little seagull

On a marble stair

Tryin to find the ocean

Lookin everywhere

Hard times in the city

In a hard town by the sea

Ain’t nowhere to run to

There ain’t nothin here for free

Oh, Baltimore.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Happy Holidays!

Saw this on Facebook this morning, and since we just finished a unit on logarithms yesterday, I figured I had to try it myself. Gave this as a warm-up activity to my Algebra 2 class today:

Challenge of the Day for Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014.

Challenge of the Day for Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Skills USA Trip

Here is a summary post linking to all seven posts about our trip to Kansas City and the National Leadership and Skills Conference:

  1. (before the trip) Kansas City Competition
  2. Missouri Bound
  3. Orientation Day
  4. Opening Ceremony
  5. Competition Day
  6. Friday
  7. The Trip Home

Just wanted to have links to them all in one place!

A thousand thank yous go to all the supporters of our Indiegogo campaign, for helping make this trip possible!!! Also to the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Patterson High School, and the Baltimore City Public Schools Office of Learning to Work, for providing the funds that enabled our students to attend this amazing competition and conference!

Hope you enjoyed the chronicle of our voyage. Next to come: more from my summer of travel, including the Blue Ridge Parkway, Florida, and US Rte 1!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Summary of My (2011) Summer Trip

Before I begin this summer’s various voyages across the eastern & midwestern US, I thought I’d finish up a summary entry that I never completed after my cross-country trek two years ago.

My trip over the summer of 2011 was long but fantastic! It had two major transcontinental legs: 1) traversing the longest road in the United States, U.S. Route 20, from Boston to Newport, and 2) heading back east across the middle of the country (via several different roads), from San Francisco to Baltimore. But there was also the first part of my journey, when I drove from Baltimore north to Boston and visited friends and family in Massachusetts. And in between the two long stretches, I drove up and down the Pacific coast, visiting a friend in Seattle, sampling some of the beaches of Oregon & California, checking out some redwoods, and attending a conference in San Francisco.

Hills of Upstate New York, along Rte 20

Hills of Upstate New York, along Rte 20

Spotted Wolf Canyon, I-70 in Utah

Spotted Wolf Canyon and I-70 in Utah

A Complete Index of Posts

Here’s a complete (and mostly chronological) list of every post from that summer of travel!

  1. Road Trip!: sharing my plans for the summer – May 25
  2. Bye-bye Bmore: leaving the bright lights of Baltimore behind for the open road – June 23
  3. First Stop on Route 20: a few days before my official Rte 20 journey began, I visited a friend at his restaurant along Rte 20 in Watertown, and also scoped out the route’s eastern terminus at Kenmore Square near Fenway Park – June 25
  4. Atlantic Ocean: visiting the beach with my family, before heading over to that other ocean – June 26
  5. Westward, Ho!: the start of my Rte 20 drive – June 28
  6. Boston, MA –> Sloansville, NY: includes detour to Tyringham Valley, MA – June 28
  7. Sloansville, NY –> Buffalo, NY: includes detour to Taughannock Falls & Seneca Falls Women’s Rights National Historic Site – June 29
  8. Buffalo, NY: includes the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens – June 30
  9. Buffalo, NY –> Cleveland, OH: includes detour to Presque Isle, PA & the James A. Garfield house in Mentor, OH – July 1
  10. Cleveland, OH –> Chicago, IL: includes a detour to Oberlin College, OH – July 2
  11. Chicago, IL: includes Grant Park & more – July 3-4
  12. Chicago, IL –> Sioux City, IA: includes the first of two bridges over the Mississippi River – July 4
  13. Sioux City, IA –> Merriman, NE: includes my entry into the Mountain Time Zone – July 5
  14. Badlands: a detour off of Rte 20 to Badlands National Park – July 5-6
  15. Merriman, NE –> Glenrock, WY: includes a nice sunset over the mountains – July 6
  16. Oregon Trail: includes me carving my name into the Rock in the Glen, WY, alongside travellers of the Oregon Trail, the National Historic Trails Museum in Casper, WY, & other places in both Idaho and Oregon where my path crossed that of settlers on the Trail – July 7-11
  17. Glenrock, WY –> Yellowstone, WY: includes the awesome Wind River Canyon & my first glimpse of buffalo – July 7
  18. Yellowstone National Park: includes many amazing sights, especially the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River – July 7-9
  19. Yellowstone, WY –> Boise, ID: includes the first nuclear power plant & Craters of the Moon National Monument – July 9-10
  20. Boise, ID –> Newport, OR: includes my reaching the Pacific Ocean at the western terminus of Rte 20 – July 11
  21. Route 20 Wrap-Up: a very detailed summary of the preceding eighteen entries, with towns and cities and other points of interest along the way – June 28 through July 11
  22. Seattle: from Newport, I headed north to see a friend in Seattle; includes views from the Space Needle – July 13
  23. Pacific Coast: multiple days of travel including Pacific City, OR, redwoods in CA, and the lights of San Francisco, via roads I-5, US 101, and CA 1 – July 12-15
  24. San Francisco: includes views from Telegraph Hill & Golden Gate Park – July 16-20
  25. Yosemite National Park: includes several very cool waterfalls & rock cliffs – July 21
  26. Colorado Plateau: includes mile 0 of I-70, various highway pull-offs in Utah, Dinosaur Hill, CO, & Colorado National Monument – July 22-23
  27. Rocky Mountains National Park: includes Bear Lake, Emerald Lake, elk, the Continental Divide, & the nearby city of Denver – July 24-25
  28. Missouri: includes the Jazz Museum in Kansas City, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and the Eads Bridge across the Mississippi – July 26-29
  29. Back in Bmore: includes the eastern end of I-70 & home sweet home! – July 29-30

A Few Summary Stats

Whew! It tires me out just listing out all those posts! All in all, my travels that summer took me across more than 10,000 miles and 25 different states, over 38 days.

I averaged more than 44 miles per gallon (closer to 46 for the Rte 20 part).

The map below shows a little of my personal US travel history. In maroon are states I had visited before 2011 (including those I went to as a child on a family trip, to my best recollection); in blue are states that were a part of my summer 2011 travels; purple (a combination of those colors) are states that were part of that trip but to which I had also been before.

States visited before (maroon/purple) and during (purple/blue) summer 2011

States visited before (maroon/purple) and during (purple/blue) summer 2011

So you can see I covered a lot of new ground! I increased the number of states I’ve been to by 58% over what it had been before. But I still have twelve states I’ve never set foot in – there is still some work for me to do!

_________________________________________________________________

Looking back at it, I’d say that summer was for me a mix of roads tourism and parks tourism.

Parks Tourism

I bought a National Parks pass, which more than made up for its cost, compared to paying entrance fees at every park I visited. In addition to the national parks (Badlands, Yellowstone, Redwoods, Yosemite, Rocky Mountains) and national monuments (Craters of the Moon, Colorado), the pass got me into some national historical sites (Garfield House, National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, Museum of Westward Expansion at the Gateway Arch). I also visited state and city parks (Redwoods, Taughannock Falls, Golden Gate, Grant).

Sign in Yosemite National Park

Sign in Yosemite National Park

I really enjoy hiking & going for walks in scenic places. I believe that we need to invest more in our parks, at local, state, and national levels.

I was walking with a colleague on our lunch break in Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, last week (June 2013). While it was still a positive experience, to leave the greyness of the city and get some exercise and fresh air in a green area, the park was not all it could have been. There was litter on the ground, and there was no sidewalk nor walking path nearby or parallel to Greenspring Avenue, an automotive road which runs through the park, forcing us to walk either in the street or on the grass.

Parks, if they are done well, provide places to walk, places to picnic, places to drive. They provide natural beauty.

Bridalveil Falls

Bridalveil Falls

Inspiration Point, with the Yellowstone River visible 1000 feet below!

Inspiration Point, with the Yellowstone River visible 1000 feet below!

They conserve our natural resources: from plants,

Looking up at the tops of some redwoods

Looking up at the tops of some redwoods

to animals,

An elk near the path

An elk near the path

to rock formations in danger from erosion.

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock

In addition to these benefits, creating and maintaining parks can provide good jobs. My grandfather was a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression, and my parents have pointed out to me trees he planted that are still growing today. Several parks had signs commemorating the work done by the CCC in founding or expanding that park:

The CCC built Rim Rock Drive in Colorado National Monument

The CCC built Rim Rock Drive in Colorado National Monument

We should treasure and continue to invest in parks during a time of recession, not cut them.

Roads Tourism

The other aspect to my 2011 trip was what I’ll call ‘roads tourism’. I’ve described before how I like to take more scenic routes, rather than always choosing the quickest path from A to B. This means I often avoid the interstates, which are some of the most boring stretches of driving ever! It’s about enjoying the journey and not just the destination.

Although they are dull drives, the interstate system is a great feat of engineering. And I love the pattern that they form, into a not-quite-grid, with even numbers going east-west and odd numbers north-south. Especially the multiples of 5 and 10. From I-95 running along the east coast, to 1-5 on the west coast; I-90 connecting Boston to Seattle, down to I-10 which goes from Jacksonville to Santa Monica.

However, before Eisenhower established the Interstate System, there was a similar gridlike system of United States Routes.

Map of Current US Routes, Wikipedia

Map of Current US Routes, Wikipedia

The numbering system for US Highways was established in 1925-6 by the American Association of State Highway Officials. Again, odd numbers go north-south, while even go east-west, but the high even numbers are in the south and the high odd numbers are in the west (this is purposely reversed for the interstates to avoid confusion between same-numbered routes in each system).

The main north-south routes were those congruent to 1 modulo 10 (i.e. 1,11,21,31,…91,101). US 1, for example, goes from Maine’s border with Canada, south to Key West, Florida. [I’ll be travelling part of it this summer!] On the west coast, US 101 goes all the way north to Olympia, WA, and south to Los Angeles.

The primary east-west routes were the multiples of 10 (along with Rte 2 since there is no Rte 0), most of which used to stretch from coast to coast. Now only two do: US 20 (Boston, MA, to Newport, OR) and US 30 (Atlantic City, NJ, to Astoria, OR). [US-2 does as well if you continue it through Canada; US 50 gets tantalizingly close but stops in Sacramento; US 6 although not a multiple of 10 also gets very close, which along with the fact that it is more on a diagonal than due east-west, makes it the second longest road in the USA after US 20.] The fact that most now do not connect the coasts is because, due to the popularity and efficiency of the interstates, sections of the old US Route System have been discontinued. For example, US 40 used to stretch all the way from Atlantic City (through Baltimore) to San Francisco, but now stops in Salt Lake City.

Anyway, I find driving on the US numbered highways to be a lot more interesting than driving on the interstates. In some places, they take you through beautiful scenery. Heck, Route 20 took me through Yellowstone National Park!

Porcelain Basin, Yellowstone

Porcelain Basin, Yellowstone

Even when the scenery is more mundane–like Route 1 in Massachusetts, which is filled with the suburban sprawl of shops, restaurants, and car dealerships–it still has a sense of variety that is lacking on most interstate drives.

US Routes also take you through towns and cities instead of mostly skirting around or above them like the interstates do. This of course makes them slower (US Rte 1 from Boston to Baltimore, through the downtowns of Providence, New York City, and Philadelphia, took me 50% longer than my usual path via I-84), but also definitely more interesting.

On my summer 2011 trip, my most obvious instance of road tourism was taking US Route 20 from start to finish.

First Rte 20 sign, heading west from Boston

First Rte 20 sign, heading west from Boston

Sign in Newport, OR: End 20 West, or Begin 20 East?

Sign in Newport, OR: End 20 West, or Begin 20 East?

I’ve written elsewhere about how Rte 20 is the longest road in the country, so I feel a sense of accomplishment having driven every mile of it!

Additionally, I travelled south from Oregon to San Francisco over much of US Highway 101.

Route 101 in California

Route 101 in California

My return eastward included US Rte 50 in Nevada, the “Loneliest Road in America”,

US 50 in Nevada

US 50 in Nevada

as well as US Rte 40 in Denver and Pennsylvania and anyplace else I wanted to leave I-70 for a break from the monotony.

Rte 40 in Denver, CO

Rte 40 in Denver, CO

Rte 40 in Pennsylvania

Rte 40 in Pennsylvania

I even crossed part of the famous (but sadly decommissioned) Route 66 in St. Louis!

Get your kicks on Route 66

Get your kicks on Route 66

And, even though I’m not as big a fan of the interstates, I also managed to visit both ends of Interstate 70:

Mile 0 on Interstate 70

Mile 0 on Interstate 70, Utah

I-70: Last Exit

I-70: Last Exit, Baltimore, MD

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this trip back through my cross-country wanderings from two years ago. As I head to Kansas City, Boston, and Orlando this summer, I’ll be sure to describe my travels here. 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Summer Plans

Yesterday was our last day of school. Woohoo!

However, I can’t just sit back and relax – I have many different things to do this summer. After my first summer teaching, when I took an engineering course and also taught Summer Bridge math, I told myself that I should leave the majority of my summertime uncommitted, for me to travel, have fun, learn new things, and relax. For the past several summers, I’ve managed to keep it down to two weeks during the summer of formal workshops/conferences/trainings. Yet, somehow this summer is shaping up to be one of my busiest yet!

Next week, I plan to travel to Kansas City with two of my students, to compete in the National Leadership and Skills Conference. A month and a half ago, after putting in many long hours of practice, they earned first place in the state-level Robotics and Automation Technology competition for Skills USA. Which garnered them the chance to compete at the national level. I have had one pair of students make it to the national level before (three years ago), but this will be my first time going with them. Wish us luck!

A bit later in the summer is the annual NAF Next Conference, which I’ve been to thrice before. This year it’s in Orlando, Florida. I plan to make a nice drive out of it, a smaller version of my trip from two years ago. I’m thinking of taking the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way there, driving down Florida’s coast on Highway A1A, heading down to Key West and the southernmost point in the continental United States, then taking US Route 1 on the way back to Baltimore.

After a three-year hiatus from taking new Project Lead the Way courses at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (I’ve been trained in Computer Integrated Manufacturing, Principles of Engineering, and Digital Electronics), I’ll be back there later this summer for another one. This year I’m taking Introduction to Engineering Design, where I’ll learn about the design process, engineering sketching, and more advanced skills in the 3D modeling software Autodesk Inventor.

And, finally, throughout all of that, I’ll also be working with several other teachers for the Baltimore City School District, to develop a remediation plan for students who fail their engineering classes.

So, I anticipate that it will be a fun but busy summer for me. Hope all the rest of you teachers are having a wonderful start to your summer breaks! And, to everyone else in other jobs that don’t supply a summer break, hope you’re at least enjoying the beautiful weather!

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized